Boundless Atlantic Crossing

Spinnaker Sheet news in blog format

Friday Oct 12 to Summerside PEI "Pan Pan Pan Pan Pan Pan"

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0100 I wake up and we are now in Northumberland Strait proper. The wind against the tide is turning the seas into a washing machine with waves coming from every direction. The rain is horizontal. I check the chart plotter and we’re heading for land! I decide to  to drop the main and turn on the engine. I’m trying to go north towards PEI and away from New Brunswick but it’s pitch black and there is nothing on the horizon to steer to. We only have the self tacking stay sail up and after several unsuccessful attempts to head North and the resulting gybes I give up on trying to steer to the compass and turn on the auto pilot. Auto is able to hold a course and we start slowly making our way toward PEI.


  Our track during the height of the storm.


0400 There’s a loud bang. At first I'm thinking it’s a repeat of the Quebec City incident but there is nothing indicated on the chart so not sure what we hit.


0500 Neil is not feeling well and while in the head notices water on the cabin sole. I assume the head has been started syphoning due to the rough conditions. The bilge pump is able to deal with the bulk of the water.


0615 Go down below. Floor boards are floating again. The water is back and it’s not the head. Pump out again. Now concerned that whatever caused the loud bang earlier has damaged the hull and we’re taking on water. I radio the Coast Guard and explain our situation: “we are taking on water but the pumps are able to keep up… need to know where the closest travel lift is located”  The Coast Guard radio operator takes down our details and then asks me to standby. Five minutes later she announces a Pan Pan on channel 16: “Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan, hello all stations the sailing vessel Boundless….” The operator then gets back to us and explains that a Coast Guard Cutter the Cap Nord is departing Summerside PEI and will escort us there. About an hour later the Cap Nord shows up on our starboard bow and proceeds to follow us as we head for Summerside. 

 The Coast Guard Cutter Cap Nord
Heading for Summerside PEI with the Coast Guard Cutter Cap Nord standing by.

We are making our own way under staysail and motor and everything is fine until we arrive outside the marina and I try to slow down: the throttle linkage does “splink” when I try to decelerate. Now have to go into neutral to slow down but the engine is racing as I’m taking the engine cover off to try and manually reduce the throttle. In the end I have to kill the engine and then sheepishly get on the radio and ask Cap Nord for a tow to a dock. This they cheerfully do (“that’s what we are here for… we knew you guys were not a bunch of yahoos in a tin boat with a cell phone… when we saw your boat and the equipment you have… happy to help”) and tow us to the Silver Fox Marina. Once we are tied up the captain Troy gives us a tour of the cutter afterwards we’re told that the Coast Guard Station is just across the harbour and if we need anything don’t hesitate to ask.





Salty oily bilge water has gotten everywhere and the rest of the day is spent cleaning and boat. 

 Later in the afternoon I head to town to try and replace my cell phone. When Gord the marina manager hears that I’ve called a taxi he tells me to cancel the call and hands me the keys to his car. With a smile he says he’s not worried about me taking it as he has my boat.

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Guest Tuesday, 18 June 2019